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David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Fourteen: Be Still My Soul


By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic

Pamela Pike’s Recollections

“Be Still My Soul” is a popular revival hymn written by Katharine von Schlegel (1697–1768) and translated into English by Jane L. Borthwick (1813–1897). The music was composed by Jean Sibelius, from his music “Finlandia.” His music is characterized by a nationalistic spirit along with poetry, often evoking his homeland’s majestic charm. The scripture reference of this hymn is found in Psalm 46:10; “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

David has blessed us with this beautiful hymn on several occasions, at his concerts, firesides and also included in David’s album “Begin” released last August 7, 2012 which he again sends tingles down your spine as his genius is spotlighted with this song.

In my review of “Begin” I stated:

His “Be Still My Soul” comes deep from the depth of his spirituality, his voice shines and soars and drives straight to the center of your heart. He sings with a conviction of his place in heaven, and perhaps his pace in singing history. The emotions David arouses and masters with this song establish his connection to his music and his faith.

I’m always struck by the depth of his lyrics and the honesty of his sound. One of the things that set certain singers apart from others is the distinctiveness of their voice. They are just unique, that was the thought I had while listening to David Archuleta. He has a tremendous talent and spirit and every note is perfect.

I still remember the first time I heard David sing this song. I was immediately gripped with the beauty of his vocals and how he reveals his real heart of worship. His tone makes you feel every word he sings and while he is immersed in the music it gives you a glimpse of the sheer majesty of his voice.

There are other hymns that David has used to touch our hearts at different times, but Be Still My Soul is one shinning start at the top of the list.

This song is breathtakingly glorious, always lifts my spirits and gently places me in the presence of God. It encourages us to trust God’s faithfulness and favor toward us, even in life’s darkest circumstances.

Singing is one of the great blessings of our worship together and the scriptures stress the importance of singing with “understanding.”

David more than any one of us knows this simply must not be forgotten.

Rosanne Simunovic’s Recollections

The first time I heard David sing this gorgeous hymn, I truly felt that I was in Heaven. His voice caressed the simple but expansive vocal line in a deeply soulful manner and the words resonated with me long after the song was over.

I have since listened to the song many, many times and have been moved to tears each and every time.

The song is not a difficult song to learn – the melody is a simple one and repeats from verse to verse.

However, what makes this performance truly special is the expressive manner in which David delivers the message contained in each verse.

By doing so, one never gets the feeling that we are listening to the same melody from verse to verse. Rather, we are taken on a very spiritual, very emotional journey, one that only David and his God-given voice can create for us.

Featured as one of the tracks on David’s luscious new album, “Begin”, this song takes on new life with the addition of a lovely cello and piano accompaniment.

How I love the sound of a cello – the plaintiff sound coming from this instrument just heightens the sense of tranquility and peace one feels while listening to this number.

And I was so taken with the soulful ad lib section, where David freely repeated “Be Still My Soul”, using his vocal gift to heighten the quiet intensity of this song.

Which brings me to another point – David never, ever over sings. He sings, passionately -yes, but he always has respect for the lyrics and the music. He sings as he would speak, with sustained inflection and nuance. And always with heartwarming sincerity.

As I write this article and listen to this song, all my worries and concerns just melted away.

Thank you David for bringing this song to my attention and for communicating it to your listeners in such a special and meaningful way.

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

8 Responses to “David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Fourteen: Be Still My Soul”

  1. I love your statement that David doesn’t over sing. I think so many of the singers today think they have to scream or at least belt out part of the song in order to look like they are showing emotion. Randy, on Idol, is always talking about there not being a moment in the song. Sometimes the moment is the whole song and how it was caressed and simply sung. David knows when to add that moment and when to just show appreciation to the meaning of the song by adding meaning to each and every word.

  2. David sings this song beautifully. Yes, His voice and his spirit unite. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir released a video of David singing this song for them in 2009. Simple and beautiful. :)

  3. David Archuleta always brings Peace and Calmness in a world full of worries and tribulations.His Faith,his Character and his Music reflects the depth of his spirituality and personality. Thank you so much for this retrospect which highlights the real emotions and significance of David’s favorite Hymn into our own lives…

  4. There is such peacefulness and beauty in this performance. It is quite meaningful today as there has been a death of a close friend. This young man will have much success in his life beyond selling records. He will be another Idol success story!

  5. KariAnn. I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost dear friends plus my Mom and Dad over the last few years and this song has brought me so much comfort.

    My deepest and heartfelt condolences.

    And, yes, David will be an enormous success story for Idol in a way that is both meaningful and inspiring.

  6. Hello everyone. Here’s another version of David singing Be Still My Soul. This was from March 2009 and David sang it to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Catch their reaction at the end. http://youtu.be/pV3DEtJtho8

  7. I’ve always enjoyed your reviews of David and his music. Thank you for keeping his name relevant through your discussions.
    Be Still My Soul sang by David is heaven to my ears and my heart! His ability to reach into my being is nothing short of amazing! As often as I listen to his version I continue to feel every word he sings.
    He gives every song he sings it’s due respect. That is how he lives his life too! So inspiring!

  8. I too always enjoy both of your reviews on David and his music…so, thank you.
    Funny to see this article today, as just yesterday, because the link to David performing BSMS to MTC came in my Google alerts, I listened again. As with every cover song David has sung, I hear and appreciate it maybe for the first time or in a new and deeper way. This gift of communication with music and emotion David has is as unique to him as his unmatched vocal skills. You mention his never oversinging etc…I always see David as “being in service to the music.” It seems he completely respects the medium and humbly performs not to showcase himself but rather the music and message…and it shows. He is also very intentional as to what music he chooses to sing. Yesterday, when I listened again to BSMS, the line “Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below” stood out for the first time to me…which made me Google the lyrics and read the song for the first time (though I’ve listened many times on “Begin.”) I’d always heard it before as a peaceful hymn but I suddenly understood and appreciated it’s fuller meaning about faith, and possibly why it’s so meaningful for David. It now has new meaning for me too…and I have David once again to thank for communicating it, in such a beautiful way.

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